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SIPT Trial Verdicts; TWO GUILTY, Two Not Guilty with Hall and Green taken into Custody

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Dana Malcolm and Wilkie Arthur

Editorial Staff 

 

#TurksandCaicos, September 26, 2023 – Floyd Hall, former Deputy Premier of the Turks and Caicos and Clayton Green, former leader of the PNP party and attorney-at-law were on Monday September 25 found guilty of bribery and money laundering (respectively) in a dramatic and emotional delivery, by the Chief Justice, of the first verdicts from the SIPT trials; a road which has been both long and expensive.

The trial has cost Turks and Caicos taxpayers well over $100 million with $7.2 million budgeted this year alone.

The two other men charged in this phase of the trial, Jeffery Hall, a former government minister and Melbourne Wilson, an attorney were found not guilty on all counts.  Following the not guilty decisions in the judge-only trial, Hall and Wilson sat with their legal team and did not return to the courtroom after the break; finally free of all charges after a protracted case of alleged government corruption which started in 2009.

As for Floyd Hall and Clayton Greene, having been on bail throughout the trial, when they were found guilty the men were put back in police custody to apply for bail pending sentencing, scheduled for October 10.

“The court room was packed.  The CJ started with not guilty verdicts and that brought some outbursts, someone shouted ‘Yes’, another person shouted ‘Wow’ and another ‘Hallelujah’ but then the mood in the court shifted when she finally called two of the defendants as guilty of the charges.  The entire atmosphere of the court went completely silent and there was confusion because now, these people who had come in support of the four men, realised two were going home and two might go to jail,” said Arthur.

The court agreed to release Hall and Green on bail but with a significantly higher amount.

On the day of the verdict, Green’s bail shot up to $300,000 from the previously stated $175,000.  Less than 24 hours later, Floyd Hall was back before the judge; he was ordered to fork over $700,000 up from the previous $500,000.

Both men have since made bail.

The verdicts are the result of an investigation that began 14 years ago in August 2009 when the Turks and Caicos, a British overseas territory, got the announcement that a Special Investigator was hired to investigate suspicions of corruption at the highest level in the country; suspicions that emerged during a Commission of Inquiry into the Michael Misick Administration.

That 2009 COI, as it had become known, was preceded by a suspension of the TCI Constitution the same year and the creation of an interim administration to govern the country, a move that Washington Misick, current Premier, and others before him have described as “regressive”.

The UK had defended its decision citing a high probability of systemic corruption in the government and legislature of TCI and activating an avalanche of legislative changes in the name of ‘good governance.’

By 2011, when a new constitution was being instituted and elections were on the back burner, the British-appointed Special Investigation and Prosecution Team (SIPT) had found enough evidence to charge a suite of Politicians, Lawyers, Investors, and relatives of politicians with partaking in multi-million dollar schemes that defrauded the people of the Turks and Caicos; an abuse of power which led to abhorrent malfeasance, as expressed by the British.

In an announcement that sent shockwaves across the country some of the country’s top officials were slapped with charges including former Premier Micheal Misick; former Deputy Premier Floyd Basil Hall; former Minister McAllister Eugene Hanchell; former Minister Lillian Elaine Boyce; former Minister Jeffrey Cristoval Hall; Clayton Stanfield Greene; Thomas Chalmers Misick; Lisa Michelle Hall; Melbourne Arthur Wilson; Quinton Albert Hall; Norman Saunders Jnr; Richard Michael Padgett and Earlson McDonald Robinson.

It took another four years of hearings and appeals on several aspects of the case before the trial began but the defendants finally stepped before the courts in December 2015. Since then, there have been plea deals, charges dropped, and a split of the matter.

The original judge, now the late Justice Paul Harrison, passed away in February 2021 while the trial was on an unscheduled hiatus and preparing to resume due to the Coronavirus Pandemic.

The Chief Justice of the Turks and Caicos announced she would review the matter and determined that the trial would proceed, with her as the ‘judge and jury’ in the infamous case.  This time though, there would be two trials, new charges, and a vow to get the case done at a quicker pace.  The first new trial concluded in June 2022, and the verdict was read in a crammed courtroom on September 25th.

TCI residents have been waiting to hear what the courts will decide in regard to the allegations of widespread corruption that effectively wrenched control of the country away from the people.

With Hall and Green facing sentencing it closes one chapter.

Now residents turn their attention to the ongoing trial of Micheal Misick and his co-accused Chalmers Misick and McAllister Hanchell.

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EXCLUSIVE!  Police black CID Vehicle shot up by bandits in Five Cays

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Wilkie Arthur

Court Correspondent

 

#TurksandCaicos, May 15, 2024 – It was an uneasy night on Tuesday May 14 for some residents of Five Cays, Providenciales owing to continuous, serious fire power with gun shots blaring in various areas of the community.

Some say they heard shots in Granny Hill and reported a man walking around with a gun, randomly shooting at unidentifiable targets. Some say shots were heard behind the Enid Capron Primary School.  Some say they heard gun shot sounds coming from a residential area as well.

The most compelling accounts, however, were on reported events in another area called “The Wells”; a community in the depths of Five Cays and South Dock.

Criminals took on law enforcement in a gun battle involving the armored truck and a CID vehicle.

No members of the Royal TCI Police were hit.

Not the same for the other side.  One person was hit, a young man not known to police and it’s not clear if he was one of the men shooting at the police or an innocently caught in the crossfire.

The man was arrested as a possible suspect.  He is also in hospital with an “entrance and exit” gunshot wound.

During the shootout in The Wells, the CID vehicle was shot at repeatedly, disabling its movement as gunfire damaged the engine. Concerning to us, these shootings were at different times and locations but came in rapid succession; one right after the other, I was told.

Most described the sounds as coming “from some big guns.”

Police the morning after allowed me in to see up close.

Video, photos feature my EXCLUSIVE, close-up look at the damage done by criminals; it is clear high powered rifles were used by these suspects still at large.

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Charred Remains Found in Back Seat of Completely Burnt Vehicle

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Wilkie Arthur

Freelance Court Correspondent

 

#TurksandCaicos, May 21, 2024 – A gruesome discovery was made around midday today (Sunday, May 19th, 2024) when police and fire rescue teams responded to a call at a location on Blue Hills Back Road, off Millennium Highway. The area, situated next to the Fortis Sub-Station, is accessible via a long, secluded dirt road.

Upon arrival, authorities found a vehicle completely engulfed in flames. The vehicle was later removed by police after being alerted by an anonymous source to its burnt-out location. Local residents indicated that the fire had been ignited around 2-3 a.m. earlier that morning, but authorities were not notified until later in the day.

Residents could not provide details about the individual inside the vehicle or even discern its color due to the extensive damage caused by the fire. Videos of the discovery location are available, but footage of the vehicle itself will be provided once it has been located. The vehicle was reportedly still burning when police arrived at the scene.

Official Royal TCI Police Report:

Media Release – May 19th, 2024: Active Investigation Officers of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force (RTCIPF) are currently on the scene of a vehicle fire in the Blue Hills, Providenciales area. Acting on received information, officers arrived at the location along North Side Close and discovered a burnt vehicle with what appeared to be a body inside.
The RTCIPF is conducting a thorough investigation to determine the circumstances of this incident. As this is an active investigation, more details will be provided to the public as they become available.

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Caribbean News

NATIONAL SECURITY SECRETARIAT INFORMATION NOTE ISSUED MAY 17, 2024

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May 21, 2024 – The Turks and Caicos Islands have clear laws prohibiting the possession of firearms and or ammunition without a licence and strict penalties in order to serve and protect the community. Our Firearms Ordinance, which was amended in 2022, states that:

No person (other than a licensed gunsmith in the course of his trade) shall have in his possession, discharge or use any firearm or ammunition unless he is the holder of a firearm licence with respect to such firearm, or in case of ammunition he is the holder of a licence for a firearm which takes that ammunition.

Firearm and/or ammunition offences carry a mandatory minimum custodial sentence of twelve years plus a fine. Where a court finds there are exceptional circumstances, the sentencing judge has discretion, under the law, to impose a custodial sentence and a fine that are fair and just in the circumstances of each case rather than impose the mandatory minimum.

The Chief Justice is advancing sentencing guidelines in respect of the application of exceptional circumstances. Wider work is also ongoing with criminal justice partners to review the efficiency and effectiveness of case progression, in driving justice outcomes.

It is the traveller’s responsibility to ensure their baggage is free of firearms and/or ammunition. Permission from an airline carrier does not constitute permission to bring firearms or ammunition into the Turks and Caicos Islands. Travellers are also strongly advised to search their luggage before they travel to the Turks and Caicos Islands to ensure they do not bring in forbidden items inadvertently. Such offences will result in arrest.

The Turks and Caicos Islands is a British Overseas Territory with a common law legal system, and reserves the right to enforce its laws. All persons, including visitors, must follow lawful process.

The Turks and Caicos Islands welcomes all visitors but reminds travellers that persons in the Turks and Caicos Islands do not have a constitutional right to carry firearms. Equally, the importation of firearms, ammunition (including stray bullets), and other weapons is strictly forbidden, unless licence to do so has been issued by the Commissioner of Police.

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